Centre-pin; Terminal Tackle
Float fisherman have a countless amount of choices when it comes to terminal
tackle. As with all areas of angling, the tools of the trade are
specialized to the needs. Navigating through the many options available on the wall at the local bait
shop can be somewhat intimidating. Seeking and finding the help of a
trusted outfitter goes a long
way to getting yourself on the correct track.
With a little background and understanding why one method is chosen of
another, you will be better equipped to form opinions of your own. By
introducing a certain level of experimentation with techniques and tackle
combinations, you’ll achieve a comfort level that will result in an enjoyable
and productive outing. Nothing is more gratifying
than doing a little research, formulating a plan based on discovery, and
achieving your personal success on the water. There may be a learning
curve involved and a few setbacks, but finding what works and why is a huge
confidence builder as you have earned it!
So! You’ve purchased a pin, you’ve got a drift rod, and now you’re
wondering, “How do I set it all up?” Great question! Let’s begin with the
reel itself. Most modern centre-pin reels are made from aluminum, whether
milled or cast, and are susceptible to environmental changes. Installing
monofilament line directly onto the spool can torque the aluminum spool out
of round. In short, these forces have the potential to destoy an
expensive reel. Not
something we wish to experiment with, as the damage could be permanent (and
Similar to a fly reel, it is necessary to spool the reel with backing.
The most common choice of backing is Dacron in 20# test. The Dacron
accomplishes two functions:
1. It creates a
cushioned buffer for the forces of expansion and contraction to move within.
2. It takes less
Dacron to fill up the spool than if straight monofilament line was used.
Think 250yards of mono rather than 900yards!
Now that your reel is backed with the appropriate amount of Dacron, what
line to use? As a beginner, choose the cheapest line available. Until you
master casting directly off the spool, you’ll appreciate the savings of
using the budget products over the high performance, high investment lines.
As you become more proficient at casting without line twist and bird’s
nests, consider specialized lines that float. Siglon F &
FF, IronSilk, and several others are formulated specifically to float or sink at a
slower rate than ordinary mono. With any line you choose, a
coating of fly line floatant/dressing goes a
long way to keep the line on the water instead of in
and helps to eliminate “bedding” on the spool. Line “bedding” occurs when
the individual strands compact against one another and bind within the
spool. The dressing lubricates the line and allows it to feed off the spool
For Great Lakes Steelhead, a mainline between 8-15# test is certainly
adequate. Be careful to take note of the line’s diameter.
You may be surprised at the diameter of some as compared to others. You’ll
have to experiment with what line and in what test works best. Float
and split shot will be installed at the end of the
mainline before the swivel.
From the mainline you’ll either tie off to a leader in a direct line to line
connection (blood knot or surgeon's knot) or to a micro swivel. Raven offers a XXXS
micro swivel with a 20# breaking strength that is just about the size of an
ant. The best choice being the smallest swivel that will support the
fight of the fish. The swivel's function is to cope
the head shaking line twist created by running steel and, to some degree,
from casting produced line twist. Attach the tippet line to the other
end of the swivel and terminate with the offering of choice. It is
advisable to step down 2# in tippet line test. An example would be 12#
mainline tied down to 8, 6, or 4# tippet. In the event of a snag,
you’ll appreciate the ability to retrieve everything but the hook when the lighter
tippet breaks off. I favor fluorocarbon tippet because of its
invisibility to fish and the abrasion resistance. Another technique is
to utilize a shot line with a swivel tied on either end. Revised the
be mainline, swivel, shot line of 18-24" with various sized
shot, swivel, tippet, and ending with the offering.
Centre-pinning is extremely versatile. Try not to limit yourself to
just chucking spawn or floating flies. Night crawlers, leeches, minnows, jigs, trout worms,
maggots, and beads can all be used quite successfully. Depending on
the river conditions, one may work better than another. Experiment
with what works best for you and note what factors were at play when you had
a great day out. Switch things around and/or compare notes with other
‘pinners to see if you recognize trends based on clarity, flow, the holding
position of fish, water temperature and the time of year. You’d be
surprised what patterns will appear as you
gain experience on the river.
that you’re finding these articles informative. If you feel there is
something I’ve overlooked or you have a suggestion that will enrich the
information provided, please feel free to email me at